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How to Cite the Census in MLA Format


Every 10 years, the U.S. Census Bureau conducts a massive collection of demographic data that attempts to collect information about every person living in the United States. The Census Bureau publishes information both in print and on its official website. If you need to cite information published by the Census Bureau in Modern Language Association, or MLA, style, cite briefly within the text and then provide full bibliographic information in a works-cited page at the end of your paper.

Cite the name of the organization parenthetically within the text. If you are citing a print publication with page numbers, cite the page number as well. For example:

According to data collected in 2010, the Hispanic population in the U.S. "continues to rise drastically" (U.S. Census Bureau 6).

If you name the organization in your sentence, you need only cite the page numbers, if applicable. For example:

According to data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2010, the Hispanic population in the U.S. "continues to rise drastically" (6).

Arrange bibliographic information for a printed publication in the following format:

Country. Government Office. Title of Document (in italics). City of Publication: Publisher, Year of Publication. Medium of Publication.

If the publisher is the Government Printing Office, abbreviate it as "GPO." Otherwise, write out the full name of the publisher. For example:

United States. Census Bureau. "Demographic Trends." Washington: GPO, 2010. Print.

Arrange bibliographic information for a Web publication in the following format:

Authoring Organization. "Title of Document." Title of Website (in italics). Name of Publisher, Day Month Year of Publication. Medium of Publication. Day Month Year of Access. <URL>

You do not have to list a publisher when citing the Census Bureau website, because the publisher is the same as the author. For example:

United States Census Bureau. "Demographic Trends." census.gov. 11 Oct. 2010. Web. 13 Jan. 2011. <http://www.census.gov/2010/demo/art987320892>

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